Historic Wells BC
The cozy mountain town of Wells BC is a real gem, situated near the end of the Gold Rush Trail.
The town was built in the 1930s to accommodate the gold miners. Today, Wells is home to a generation of artists, musicians, and industrialists alike, giving the town a special vibe. It’s a place that sets you back in time.
The unique and colourful heritage buildings are full of history. The population of about 236 triples during the summer season with actors and students move in to bring Historic Barkerville alive for the season.
Island Mountain School of Arts is also a reason for the population increase during summer. The school offers workshops in folk art, the performing arts, photography and journalism, drawing and watercolour.
Because neighbouring Barkerville shuts down for winter, some of the restaurants and shops in Wells close in winter as well.
Getting There And Around
Wells BC is located a day’s drive north of Vancouver along BC’s famous Gold Rush Trail.
Whether you are driving, flying, taking the bus or taking the train, you’re never very far away from one of the top tourist destinations in western Canada.
Once you arrive, park your car and walk. Everything is accessible by foot from almost anywhere in town.
By road – Coming from Quesnel on Highway 97, turn east on Highway 26 and drive 74 km to Wells.
By air – Quesnel and Prince George are serviced by:
- Central Mountain Air – service from Vancouver
- Westjet – service from Vancouver and Edmonton
- Air Canada – serves Prince George from Vancouver five times a day
By bus – From Quesnel on Thursdays, you can take public transit all the way to Wells. Make sure to check the current schedule.
By rideshare – If you can’t get to Wells by car or air, maybe you want to check out HitchPlanet’s rideshare. HitchPlanet is a local rideshare community that helps drivers with spare seats connect with people who need rides.
If you are driving this way, you can also post your trip and split travel costs and make new friends.
What To See And Do In Wells BC
- Start off at the Wells and Area Visitor Centre housed in the Wells Museum and get a map.
- Take a stroll around town and feel the rich past of an authentic gold rush town.
- Visit shops and galleries featuring the creative work of local artists and artisans.
- The Wells Community Hall is one of the heritage attractions which has been restored.
- The historic Sunset Theatre features live music, live theatre and concerts all through the summer
Winter in Wells
- Dog sledding is very popular in Wells and attracts people from across the world to take in the famous Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run.
- Join the locals and head out with snowshoes or skis.
Other things to See and Do near Wells BC
- Recreation trails abound in the valley and mountains surrounding Wells
- Close to Wells you have a network of old mining trails and forestry roads suitable for many outdoor recreations.
- The Cornish Mountain is a Non-Motorized Recreation Area and has over 25 km of trails, some of them leading up to alpine meadows.
- Visit the Wells Information Centre for detailed information about hiking trails.
Jack O’Clubs Lake
Close to town, Jack O’ Clubs Lake is a great place to canoe, swim, sail or fish. The lake is walking distance from the town of Wells and is a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike!
Bowron Lake Provincial Park
Situated 32 km east of Wells, the park is known as one of the world’s best canoeing destinations with 116 km lakes and rivers.
Barkerville is located 5 km east of Wells. For most travellers, a visit to historic Barkerville is the reason they come to this part of British Columbia in the first place. The extraordinary historic town of Barkerville is a living history of BC’s golden beginnings.
Back Road to Cariboo Mountain and Likely
If you have at least a day to spare and you’re up for a special adventure and you carry a spare tire, the Wilderness Road Trip through the Cariboo Mountains might be for you.
Places to Stay
Wells provides cozy hotels, motels and B & B’s for all kinds of budgets and tastes.
There are several campgrounds in the area.
The place is extremely clean with hot showers and clean bathrooms. It was a bit pricey, which was to be expected to be so close to Historic Barkerville.
Cariboo Joy RV park is located close to the award-winning Bear’s Paw Dinner Cafe. The Cafe is licensed and offers full meals and free Internet, make sure to stop in. Bear Paw’s Cafe is a good source for information about the region, its people and its events.
Make sure to stop at the friendly Wells Visitor Centre when you arrive in town to pick up maps and other information you might need. I picked up the back road flyer for the wilderness road trip to Likely.
If the Visitor Centre is closed, drop in at the Wells General Store, gas station or the Wells District office. They all offer a selection of brochures and maps and heaps of insider information.